Vancouver Becomes First Canadian City To Vote To Decriminalise All Drugs
In a move that could see a significant change to modern society, Vancouver has taken a bold first step to removing the stigma of drug abuse by voting to decriminalise them.
The city council voted in unanimous favour to decriminalise the possession of all forms of narcotics, provided they are in small quantities. The city is the first in Canada to do so, though it still requires federal approval.
While some will look upon legalising addictive drugs like methamphetamine and heroin as a negative thing, the aim is to get the overdose crisis under control. This has spiked during the coronavirus pandemic, thanks to an increasingly dangerous street supply.
While this would see Vancouver becoming the first city in Canada to decriminalise drugs, Oregon led the way in becoming the first US state to vote in favour of decriminalising on drug possession, having done so a matter of weeks ago.
Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart described the decision as a groundbreaking and positive way to tackle drug addiction, and said, ‘Vancouver has once again decided to lead the way on drug policy in order to save lives.’ Stewart was the figure to bring up the idea of passing a drug decriminalisation law.
Hopeful that the government would see it from their point of view and move forward with the liberally-minded scheme, he continued:
If approved by the federal government, we will begin a robust process to determine how decriminalisation will be implemented in Vancouver.
According to Vice, at least 1,536 have died in Vancouver and in excess of 5,000 in British Columbia, since the start of the public health emergency that was declared back in 2016.
In 2020, those numbers have continued to rise, most notably throughout British Columbia, but also across the country. Predictions are that this year will be one of the worst on record for drug overdoses.
This is merely the first step of the process to render drug possession decriminalised, though. Next, the mayor will need to submit the request to the Federal Ministers of Health and Justice, asking for a special exemption of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act in order for the decriminalisation process to happen.
Admittedly, this can take several months to clear, but in the meantime the mayor will urge every municipal government in B.C. to initiate the implementation of filing their own federal exemptions, in the hope the move will spread further afield.
Experts have said for a long time this is precisely the action that needs to happen in order to create better health services and treatment for drug users, as well as break down the barriers of both its stigma and fear due to criminal association.
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